The family of 29-year-old Nancy Ng says they have been in touch with the State Department and the FBI following her disappearance last month
A California woman went missing during an October yoga retreat in Guatemala, and her family is still looking for answers.
On Oct. 19, 29-year-old Nancy Ng went missing in Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, according to a GoFundMe shared by family.
The Monterey Park woman, who works for the Alhambra Unified School District, was on her second-annual week-long yoga retreat overseas when the organizer of the retreat called her family a few days in to notify them that she had vanished, according to local Los Angeles network KTLA.
“The last two weeks have been a living hell because when we first got the news that she was missing, we just had so many questions,” Nicky Ng, Nancy’s sister, told KTLA. “What happened? Where is she now? Is there a chance she’s alive? We didn’t know anything.”
According to the GoFundMe, Nancy's family has worked with Guatemala’s National Tourism Assistance Program on a search effort. The family has also been in touch with the FBI and State Department, who have been in contact with Guatemalan authorities, per local ABC affiliate KABC-TV.
The FBI has also confirmed to KTLA and NBC News that officials are working with the Guatemalan government — which is ultimately leading the investigation.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State told PEOPLE on Monday that the department is aware of reports of a missing U.S. citizen in Lake Atitlán, and that the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala is in contact with local authorities and "closely monitoring their investigation."
Chris Sharpe, co-owner of Black Wolf Helicopters, told KTLA that so far there's been "no corroboration" of "where she went in, where she went missing" in Lake Atitlán.
According to the outlet, the private search and rescue team has looked through 95% of the lake with the assistance of divers and drones. The family told NBC News that the Guatemalan navy stopped its search after 72 hours, which led them to hire Black Wolf.
“We’ve got a rough idea, but it varies from one side of the lake to the other," Sharpe said, adding that primary witnesses have not been forthcoming with information.
"We're begging you: If anyone saw anything that could help us, just direct us where to look," Nicky told KABC. "Because we need answers."
The family was told, per KABC, that Nancy was last seen kayaking with others during the retreat. "For me, this is now becoming a criminal investigation because the witnesses who were there at a material time are not being forthcoming," Sharpe told the outlet.
Jared Lopez, Nicky's partner who launched the GoFundMe for Nancy, noted that funds raised will help support the Ng family and the ongoing search effort — including helicopter teams, equipment for divers, boat rescue teams, the "potential use" of submarine and sonar equipment and travel expenses, as well as financial support for the family.
In the fundraiser, he describes Nancy as "a caring daughter, a loving sister, and a supportive friend."
In an update on Oct. 30, Lopez wrote that an "extensive search of the lake" was conducted by Black Wolf Helicopters, the Bomberos Voluntarios Air Rescue Section, the Bomberos Dive Team and local volunteers.
"Due to the lack of this imperative information, the search is now subject to investigation by local Prosecution Authorities, the FBI, and the U.S. Department of State," he wrote, noting that key witnesses had returned to the U.S.
“Time is of the essence, and we are racing against the clock to bring Nancy home,” the Ng family said in a statement to KTLA.
“It has been an ongoing nightmare, not knowing what happened to Nancy or if we will ever get her back. All my family wants is to bring our sister/daughter home. Please help us do so.”
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